PORT HARDY—With the recent passing of Coun. Al Huddlestan, Port Hardy Council turned its attention to finding a successor last week.
Director of Corporate Services Jeff Long and Chief Administrative Officer Rick Davidge prepared a report for councillors outlining the procedures for a midterm by-election.
In response to initial requirements the council appointed Long as Chief Election Officer to oversee the process, with Susan Bjarnason as deputy.
To avoid a July election which could conflict with vacations for many, the report included a timeline which would see a June election.
“We’ve set out a schedule of events which would start this Thursday (April 25) with a notice in the newspaper,” explained Long.
Nominees for the vacant position will be required to complete nomination documents between May 7-17 and, after a set of legal steps are fulfilled and assuming multiple candidates apply, a notice of general election as well as information on advance voting will be released.
The election proper will be held June 22 in the Council Chambers with results announced by June 26.
Besides the council seat, Port Hardy also had a vacant chair on the RDMW board to be filled by appointment by the mayor, who holds the other chair at the board.
Mayor Bev Parnham appointed John Tidbury to the vacant seat, with Coun. Nikki Shaw and Coun. Janet Dorward acting as alternates.
Council hosted a pair of emergency services delegates last week as Staff Sergeant Gord Brownridge and Fire Chief Schell Nickerson appeared before councillors to present reports.
S/Sgt Brownridge informed councillors that the local detachment had dealt with 807 files in the previous quarter.
The detachment continues to focus on four strategic priorities: substance abuse/drug trafficking, traffic, First Nations engagement and crime reduction.
The councillors heard that RCMP members were working toward a 10 per cent reduction in motor vehicle accidents this quarter.
Mayor Parnham asked whether the increased traffic on the Holberg Road due to wind farm construction was having an effect on incidents and if the RCMP was upping its presence in the area.
S/Sgt Brownridge confirmed that he was aware of incidents on the road, saying, “It’s certainly on the radar but we don’t want to take away from other areas — school zones and so on.”
The detachment has also mapped out accident locations over a five year period to provide a more thorough picture of accident black spots, down to the time of incidents.
The mayor thanked him for his presentation and said she would be very interested to see the mapping project.
Nickerson noted a busy start to 2013 for firefighters in his report.
“We started the year off fairly busy. There were 24 calls, 10 of which related to fires, that amounted to an over $800,000 loss to the community.”
The local department also assisted Port McNeill’s fire department through a mutual aid call, performed equipment testing and assisted with the delivery of the tsunami warning pamphlets in the town.
Individual members have been upgrading their skills through a series of training sessions, while overall membership has remained at 31 despite some turnover.
The mayor asked about the spate of fires early in the year.
“There was no pattern to them,” explained the fire chief, “but I’m still amazed people don’t understand smoke detectors. Only one out of seven fires had one. I see them disconnected, lying with the battery out — those thirty seconds can save your life.”
The mayor thanked Nickerson for his report. “We’re really happy to have you guys,” she said. “You do a great job for us.”